3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Suicide On Or Off The Tradeshow Floor

A few weeks ago I watched on Twitter as a marketer committed social media suicide.

Within hours after someone tweeted about having a severe, nearly fatal allergic reaction, she received a marketing message from a company that sells non-allergenic products. So far, so good. The marketer had obviously set up a search on the appropriate term and used the information to reach out to a potential customer.

Unfortunately, the marketing message was poorly targeted and offensively presented. Not only was the recipient angry at the clumsy overture, she responded in such a way that everyone reading her tweetstream would become aware of the problem. The marketer garnered some bad publicity for his company.

Then, instead of apologizing, the marketer made a bad situation worse by defending his actions. The potential customer has now publicly vowed never to use the company’s products, and she has told a number of people about the problem. More bad publicity.

Three lessons from this marketing debacle:

1. Search terms are not enough.
If the marketer had actually read the tweet, he would have known enough about the situation to avoid offending a potential customer with mistaken assumptions. If you are selling cat toys, for example, don’t try marketing to someone who has tweeted either “I hate cats” or “My cat just died.” Either one is likely to be unproductive at best.

2. Social media messages are not ads, they are personal conversations.
The strategies that work well in a print or TV ad don’t work in door-to-door selling—and social media are much more akin to direct sales. Always remember that you’re talking to an individual on her own territory. Be respectful, friendly, and aware of her feelings.

3. When you’ve angered the customer, apologize.
Arguing with the customer’s reaction just makes matters worse. It’s okay to explain that you didn’t intend to be insensitive, but apologize sincerely for having caused offense. This leaves the potential customer in a forgiving mood, and you may make a sale anyway.

Share

One Response to “3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Suicide On Or Off The Tradeshow Floor”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] 3 Ways to Avoid Social Media Suicide On Or Off The Tradeshow Floor [...]


Leave a Reply